When you're already hot under the collar from sweltering summer temperatures, a faulty air conditioner can make your blood boil.
With temperatures in the 90s and 100s, area air-conditioner repair companies have been swamped with service calls. Getting your air conditioner fixed may take a few hours or even a few days, depending on the extent of repairs.
"We work 24 hours a day. We get calls at 3:30 in the morning," said Randy Ortiz, president of Advantage Heating and Air Conditioning, 406 N. Seventh St. "We're all busy in the summer time."
Debbie King of Baldwin's A & H Air Conditioning said business does increase in the summer, especially if the power plant causes brown-outs in town.
"When power goes out in Baldwin, we know we're going to be busy," she said.
King said she received about 20 calls last month, the last time power went out.
"If you don't turn off your air when the power goes out, then when it comes back on, the power comes in too fast," she said. "It basically fries the system."
As temperatures rise, Ortiz said cooling units also must work much harder, causing some systems to malfunction. That's partly why he sees about a 10 to 15 percent increase in his summer business.
"But preventive maintenance could really avoid a lot of our calls," Ortiz said. "Just clean out your condenser unit and change the filters."
Ronnie Homer, service manager at Lawrence's Cloud Heating and Air Conditioning for 23 years, offered similar advice.
"It's real important you keep the air filter clean, otherwise you're not moving the air through the filter to cool down your house," he said. "The filter makes a big difference."
In addition, Homer said, people shouldn't turn off their air conditioners because it will take longer to cool down the house when needed again. He said it's better to set the thermostat around 76 degrees.
"When we get cool weather, people like to open up their windows, and that loads your house with humidity," he said. "That's the worse thing you can do. An air conditioner is actually a dehumidifier."